Diary of the Rev. John Ward, A. M., Vicar of Stratford-upon-Avon, Extending from 1648 to 1679
Book digitized by Google and uploaded to the Internet Archive by user tpb.
March 6, 2016
My favorite passage in the diary is:
"I have heard that Mr. Shakspeare was a natural wit, without any art at all; hee frequented the plays all his younger time, but in his elder days lived at Stratford, and supplied the stage with two plays every year, and for itt had an allowance so large, that hee spent att the rate of 1,000/. a-year, as I have heard."
De Vere did indeed receive 1,000 pounds a year for writing the history plays, which was the Queen's way of keeping him tethered and solvent. "A thousand pounds a year, I buy a rope," as one of the Dromios says in The Comedy of Errors. The Stratford man's estate never exceed 350 pounds.